I’m busy these days.

I’m writing, reading, learning, and working. I’m taking care of my family and trying to spend time with my children. I’m running multiple businesses, traveling, living life to the fullest, and spending time on spiritual learning and practices  – admittedly, I’d really like to do more of the latter but guess what: I don’t have the time!

The point I’m trying to make here is that I’m trimming down BS as much as I can, and I still don’t have the time!

The most important thing that we as marketers need to realize is that everyone is busy. All the things I’m doing, you’re doing too. As well as every person that has that great fortune of being on our marketing list.

This means that most of our hard work goes completely unnoticed. I’m not talking about unopened emails here, either – I can only wish that every person that opens my email actually ends up reading it. According to this study, 51 second is all I’m going to get.



It’s all you are going to get as well and that’s if you’re lucky. You can probably shave 20 seconds off of that, considering it is an older study. We all get busier over the years, and the up and coming millennials have the attention span of a gnat.

What this means is that we all need to be smarter. Our emails need to be short and sweet and packaged in a way that allows them to be consumed in under a minute, tops. Or, we need to be so interesting and thought-provoking that readers throw caution to the wind and decide to spend more time on us.

The second approach depends on your product and your voice; you will have to figure out that one for yourself. As for the first, I’ve compiled 4 useful tips you should stick to if you don’t want all your hard work to be in vain. They’ve worked for me so they might work for you as well.

Headline optimization

Email headlines are all about the first two words you use. Take a look at this headline. It starts off following blog posting best practices: ‘4 Tips for Marketing to Busy People’. For some reason, blog and article readers like this. They get a promise – 4 tips – that gets delivered on.



This wouldn’t work that well as an email headline. Remember, emails are a form of interruption marketing. People did not proactively set out search this information, it came to them.

‘Marketing to Chronically Busy – 4 Tips to Get Their Attention More Easily’ would probably work better – even if it’s not following that 2-word advice. This is because it tells them, at a glance, what the email is about, without requiring them to read the entire headline to get to the point.

Chunk up the content

Break sections of your email into chunks. Short, 1-2 sentence paragraphs are a lot easier to digest. Large paragraphs create an expectation of commitment and of there is something people don’t like, it’s commitment.



Make sure that each of those chunks addresses one single, solitary point. Don’t go off on a tangent; make your point quickly and be done with it.

And lastly, ensure that each chunk has a headline of its own. Abide by the 2-word rule. People are scanning your content. If one point is of no interest to them, they will move on as they should. Create chances to grab their attention in the following paragraphs.

Keep it scan-friendly and align to the left

As I mentioned above, people scan your content and they scan it in an F pattern, at least in the left-to-right reading countries. If there is something, in particular, you want people to read, keep it front, left, and above the fold, not front and center.



Also, try to have a single column. Due to the fact that people usually read left to right, they will get to the end of a column and move down, following the natural pattern of reading. This means that the second column gets little to no loving, so if include it only if absolutely necessary.

Images reinforce your message

A picture tells a thousand words. This was true 50 years ago and is true now. Especially now. If you can add a picture to your email that conveys truthfully what you’re communicating in a paragraph, do it. Some people are visual learners so you need to keep that in mind as well.



Images, videos, gifs… whatever makes sense to include into your email that’s connected with the content it’s guaranteed to drive up engagement. Research shows that emails including multimedia get 77 % more time than those that don’t.

They’ve pronounced email marketing dead so many times now that I’ve lost count. However, it’s still hanging in there. In my experience, it’s the surest, safest way we have of reaching our customers. Studies show that 77% millennials check their email in bed, and 27% even check it while driving – by the way, please stop doing that, it’s not safe!

Email marketing is not dead and it will work for you too, but only if you know what you’re doing. Don’t expect people to devote their entire day to you. Keep it short and to the point.

Is any of this advice applicable in your case? Or do you have another preferred method of grabbing people’s attention? Visit the comments section and enlighten me, please!


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